Typical mistakes in Russian


The following article is dedicated to typical mistakes in spoken Russian language. It is really sad to realize that the majority of mistakes made in spoken Russian are not even spotted by native speakers. In the majority of cases speakers either do not use words in the right way, because they don’t know their meanings, or they use them verbosely.

I will try to shed light on two significant groups of mistakes that exist among Russian speakers. The topics up for discussion are verbosity and the meanings of words.

Word meaning misunderstanding is one of the most typical mistakes one can find among Russian speakers. Precisely, different people assign their own meanings to the same words. Russian language has a lot of words that have similar roots; but not similar meanings! Very often Russian speakers use a word assuming one meaning; however in reality the meaning of the word in context is totally different. An example of this can even include a whole sentence. Костер все больше и больше распалялся, пылал (The fire was flaming up). The mistake here is the verb Распаляться meaning ‘to warm up‘. However the right option would be to use Разгораться, i.e. to flame up.

Another typical group of mistakes that exist among Russian speakers is connected to verbosity. There are several types of verbosity, such as pleonasm and tautology. Pleonasm means the use of logically similar words. For example, the guests received memorable souvenirs. The mistake is with the word memorable, since souvenir means a memorable present. Consequently the use of ‘memorable souvenirs’ here is incorrect.

Tautology (Greek. TAUTO ‘a word’) repetition of paronymous words (words with the same root) is another very common mistake among Russian speakers. Example: Руководители предприятий настроены на деловой настрой.

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